Not long ago my sweetie and I were in Las Vegas for my birthday. There’s no other way to describe Las Vegas in August other than brutally hot. Though, somehow I always end up loving the time spent on the surface of the Sun. That lasts about 3 days usually, once you get to day 4 you’re still diggin’ it somewhat, but you’re starting to look at the calendar for that departure date. By day 5 you’re overjoyed to finally be leaving the surface of the Sun.
It was the say before my birthday, when we read that Aretha Franklin had just died. I wouldn’t say I was fanatic about Aretha’s life’s work, but there was a grey sadness that tinged the day for sure. Maybe it’s because her soulful sound had provided a soundtrack for a good portion of my life, and her passing reminded me that all life’s sweetness will eventually fade away.
I’d been listening to a newscast and they’d said that Elvis had also died on this very same day, August 16th. Both the “King” and the “Queen” died on the same day.
That evening we were strolling along the Strip. Really, more like herding along with the sweating masses, with stops at each cross street that felt like they took an eternity. There are too many people squeezed along the Vegas Strip at pretty much any time of the year. A late Summer visit can be particularly brutal, and the masse only compound the misery.
Misery might be a bit strong, because ducking into the sub-zero air-conditioned casinos to cool off is always an option, and it does make the afternoon dips in the hotel pools that much more delightful.
I’d just finished grabbing a couple of images to try and blend together for something different than the usual Vegas snaps. One of that green neon of the Coke museum place, and another one of that Eiffel tower at the Paris casino. Over a loudspeaker you could hear…
What you want
Baby, I got it
What you need
Do you know I got it?
There was a curvy black woman standing out front of the CVS convenient store. I noticed that she was sweating quite a bit and her face was really wet… as were ours. She was mouthing the words along with Aretha.
All I'm askin'
Is for a little respect when you get home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(Just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)
Then, all of a sudden she started dancing and grooving a little bit along with the song.
I'm about to give you all of my money
And all I'm askin' in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah, baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
When you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)
The closer we got, the more she was starting to cut loose. Her arms flew up in the air like she just didn’t care, and she stepped right out in front of everyone sweltering and shuffling by in the August heat.
Ooh, your kisses
Sweeter than honey
And guess what?
So is my money
All I want you to do for me
Is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re, re)
Yeah baby (re, re, re, re)
Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)
When you get home, now (just a little bit)
Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB
By this point we were right up on her and she was in full performance mode. No longer mouthing the words to the song, but belting them out with everything she had in her.
Noticed that she was indeed sweating a great deal… but that wasn’t why her face was wet.
It was wet because she was weeping and morning for loss of the Queen.